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HELP! My cat swallows her tail and it's gross

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My 2 year old sphinx cat, Yema, swallows her own tail. She will start by biting it to put it in her mouth then she proceeds to just stick it down her throat as far as she can. This started as a way for her to clear her throat when she was sick with mucus in her throat, but it has developed into her doing it all the time. She is totally fine now (not sick), but can't seem to stop herself from this compulsive behavior. She is very active and playful and needs a lot of attention so she may know it gets her attention when she does it. We even tried putting mustard and hot sauce on her tail one night with the hope that it would deter her. She licked both off in about 5 minutes then continued sticking her tail down her throat. Does anyone know why a cat might do this? Does anyone else have a sphinx that does this? If so, have you had any luck getting them to stop this?
 

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Yumi

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I'm afraid I'm to new too the breed and it's the first time I've read something like this.
That sure is special behavior. Maybe someone with more experience can chip in later on and bring up idea's.
Positive vibes send and good luck!
 

Zab

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Never heard of this before, very odd. Hopefully someone here can be helpful! Stunning baby by the way.
 

Xandria

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Max has been deep throating his tail since day one. When he was younger we tried everything to no avail. So we resigned ourselves to scaly tail which I would rub with moisturizer every so often. However, a number of months ago (Max is almost 4), we decided to try dissuading him again. And it's working.

He would suck his tail at certain times and certain spots. If downstairs, I toss small toys at him until he stops and he does give up. If up in our bedroom, I shove him off the nightstands that he likes to sit and suck on. The biggest challenge is up high on one of our media shelving units -- he's a pain to reach but I'm also eating breakfast when he does this. On weekends I do stop eating and toss toys etc. at him until he stops.

I don't think it's ever too late to start retraining their brains, but it seemed to me that Max was far more obsessive when he was younger.

Just keep at it. Hugs.
 
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Thank you everyone for your responses!

@Xandria: We have been trying to stop her by pulling her tail away from her mouth and yelling "NO!" She usually just starts licking somewhere else on her body when we do this, which is fine by us, but often she will work her way back to the tail. It's sometimes exhausting to keep doing this, but she is usually on our laps when she begins so we may not have enough distance to toss a toy at her. We'll just have to keep stopping her I guess. Her tail had been almost chapped and scaly at times before we made a recent diet change. We switched her off dry food because she had a rat ulcer on her lip. Since we made the switch, the rat ulcer has disappeared and she has incredibly soft and smooth skin. We currently give her Kasiks Salmon Formula wet cat food, Tomlyn Lysine Powder, and some wild caught salmon oil mixed together every morning and night. The fish based diet has improved her skin so much!
 

Bailey21

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I'm a little late to the party on this thread. My boy did something similar to what you're describing, but he would only chew/suck on the end of his tail, up to a couple inches. He wouldn't actually try and swallow the entire thing. Here was my thread with a video:

Tail Biting

It really bothered me when he would do this, I was worried he'd chew the end right off! His tail used to be a beautiful white color, and with all the sucking he has turned it an orange at the tip. I read that you can apply clove oil since they hate the smell/taste but my hubby wouldn't allow it, as I guess the lady at goodness me told him that it is not good for the kitty (large quantities yes, one lick, no)
Eventually Yoda just grew out of sucking/chewing on his tail, as I haven't seem him do it in months, and he will be turning 1 this month. Hopefully your baby will grow out of it, or you guys are able to redirect her away! I truly tried redirection and ended up giving up.
 

Xandria

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@yemabingbeans -- I know how exhausting it can be. All we can do is our best to distract and discourage. I used to use an angry voice on Max but quickly realized he didn't quite understand what he was doing was wrong so much. I don't bother with verbal discipline. I just distract as much as I can.

Since I wrote the above I no long have to throw small toys at Max when he is on the TV stand about to suck his tail. All I have to do is pick up a toy and wave it around. He stops, jumps down, and finds something else to do that's less harmful. heh.

Persistence works, but it's effort. HUGS.
 
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